At first glance, WebPAC appears to be like all the other Web offerings but there are important differences.
At the user level, the key point is that the OPAC can do more or do it faster than most Web based products. For example, sub-sorting and
limiting of search results can be achieved without going back to the server. This can be done because once your set of results are downloaded from the server, you can manipulate them locally instead of going back
and forth to the server for additional processing.
Many Web OPACs do not offer any features after you have returned the results to your screen - you may set limits and sorts BEFORE you search but the only way to do it after a search has been completed is to go BACK and set the limits and search again.
WebPAC achieves this by using Java to provide intelligence at the browser end and by applying some careful thought to the division of labour between
the browser, application server and database server.
The advantage to the user of downloading data once and then sorting is the enhanced result manipulation. A less obvious result is the
reduction of traffic across the network, which, with a large OPAC population this can be a significant problem.
WebPAC also includes other Java features such as patron time-out that also clears the history of back pages on the browser for security/privacy
reasons. Parallel Z39.50 searching is also included to enable both Dynix and non-Dynix libraries to be searched simultaneously.